One in six people will only take vaccine if offered preference, research indicates

AstraZeneca the least-desired jab, as vaccine acceptance rises in all age groups

The Pfizer vaccine is the most-desired. Photograph: Brett Carlsen/The New York Times

The Pfizer vaccine is the most-desired. Photograph: Brett Carlsen/The New York Times

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About one in six people say they will take the Covid-19 vaccine only if they are offered their preferred choice, according to new research.

Of the four vaccines currently authorised in Ireland, by far the most preferred is Pfizer while the least preferred by some distance is AstraZeneca, polling by the Economic and Social Research Institute indicates.

Satisfaction with the vaccine rollout has increased significantly since early May, and those who have had at least one dose report greater wellbeing than the unvaccinated.

The vaccine rollout has accelerated in recent months with about 250,000 people a week receiving a dose; this is still short of the targeted peak of 430,000. The AstraZeneca vaccine is being used far less than was first envisaged due to supply difficulties and a link to very rare but serious blood clotting events.

Nearly 80 per cent of people who have not yet been offered the vaccine say they intend to take it, with vaccine acceptance rising in all age groups since January, according to the ESRI’s latest social activity measure for the Department of the Taoiseach. At 9.1 per cent, the proportion of people who say they won’t take the vaccine is at its highest this year, but there has been a corresponding drop in the number of people who are unsure about taking it.

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More than 96 per cent of those in their 60s, 85 per cent of people aged 40-60 years, and 81 per cent of those under 40 say they have either taken or intend to take one of the vaccines.

While 70 per cent of people say they will take any vaccine offered, almost half of these prefer one vaccine over others. A substantial minority – 17 per cent – say they will only take the vaccine if offered the one they prefer.

Less than 5 per cent of those who say they have a vaccine preference or will only take their preferred one choose AstraZeneca, compared with at least 80 per cent for Pfizer. Moderna is the next favoured vaccine after Pfizer, followed by Johnson & Johnson.

Increased movement

The measure also reports significant increases in visits to the workplace, people’s homes and other indoor locations following the easing of restrictions in late May. Indoor visits were primarily driven by attendance in churches.

One in seven people reported going to another county, and 3.2 per cent had visited Northern Ireland. There was no change in the numbers leaving the island.

Less than 17 per cent had visited a non-essential shop over the previous week, with the increase largely driven by visits to clothes and shoe shops.

Wellbeing has increased to levels higher than those seen in January, while the extent to which people are tired of restrictions is at its lowest point since the measure started.

There were an additional 313 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic, the Department of Health said on Sunday, while more than three million vaccines have been administered.

There were another 69 confirmed cases of the virus recorded in Northern Ireland. No deaths were reported on the island of Ireland.